July 18, 2015
Michael Curtis holds Greece responsible for the destruction of the Jewish community of Greece during the Nazi occupation which
is absurd. It was the Germans and their Bulgarian allies who also occupied parts of Greece that deported Greek Jews to the death
Camps. Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens and Greek intellectuals formally protested the persecution of Jews. The Greek Orthodox
Archbishop’s condemnation was in fact the strOongest of any Christian leader in Europe.
The Yad Vashem in Jerusalem recognizes over 200 Greek Christians as righteous among the nations. These are Greeks who hid their
brother Greeks at considerable risk to themselves. In addition, the occupation of Greece by Germany was brutal with horrific massacres
taking place and even more Greeks having been left to starve to death. The Greek Church and people did as much as was humanly
possible to protect their fellow Greeks under the appalling circumstances.
The responsibility for the Holocaust in Greece lies predominantly with the German barbarians. Why does Mr. Curtis absolve the Bulgarians
and the Italians from responsibility? The Italians were Hitler’s allies and their decision to invade Greece (heroically resisted by the Greeks
who crushed them) was to subsequently bring the Germans into Greece where Hitler initially had no plans to invade. Had the Italians not invaded Greece to begin with and had they not needed the Germans to fight for them the Jewish community of Greece would have survived.
In addition, the Bulgarians deserve condemnation which is not forthcoming from Mr. Curtis. Bulgaria was an ally of Hitler which occupied Greek territory and which cooperated with the Germans in fulfilling the plans for the Final Solution. Greece was an occupied country in absolute agony and so Mr. Curtis is blaming other victims. Martin Gilbert in his outstanding book “The Holocaust” adequately refers to Bulgarian responsibility for the fate of Greek Jews.
In addition, Mark Mazowers’s well researched “Inside Hitler’s Greece” documents the extent to which the Christian people of Greece
considered Nazi racism foreign and barbaric. Adolf Eichmann and Alfred Rosenberg bitterly complained about the lack of cooperation
from the Greeks in their hideous plan to exterminate the Jewish people. In addition, the Greek Orthodox Bishop of Zakynthos Chrysostom and Mayor Lucas Kerrer openly condemned Nazi plans to deport the Jews of that island. With the help of the Greek population the whole Jewish community of Zakynthos escaped unscathed. In addition to Archbishop Damaskinos, the Greek Bishops of Zakynthos,
Volos, and Thessaloniki have been recognized as righteous among the nations by the Yad Vashem.
At present, Greece has many serious problems to contend with. It is rather difficult for Greeks to deal with their problems with the
current miserable conditions that have been imposed upon them by Hitler’s successors. Germany continues to kick the Greek people
while they are down. The rest of Europe watches in complete silence as Greece is being overrun by poverty. Mr. Curtis is a very blind
fellow. His article seems to have missed the misery of the Greeks under Nazi rule and he seems to be overlooking the present day
miseries of the Greek people resulting from yet another generation of German barbarians and conquerors.
No one can say that Greeks do not lament or mourn the passing of their Jewish brothers and sisters. In Athens, a statue of Archbishop
Damaskinos has an inscription informing passers by of his condemnation of the Nazi deportation of Jews. Furthermore, in my
travels to Thessaloniki and the island of Rhodes last month I witnessed memorials for the the Jewish populations of those two
areas. No country condemns more than Greece the horrors of anti semitism and racial persecution.
Greeks themselves having suffered not only under the Nazis but under the racist policies of the Turks in Asia Minor in 1922 and currently
in Turkish occupied Cyprus as well.
Theodore G. Karakostas